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Dr. Richard Kashmar
Professor of Chemistry and Physics

Why I Teach:

“Chemistry is fascinating to me at so many levels – everything from the visual appeal of the color changes of the simplest chemical reactions, to the mathematics involved in chemical kinetics and quantum theory. In teaching chemistry, I get the chance to share this fascination with students, and to impart to them something of the importance of this field, which many textbook authors have termed ‘the central science’.” 

Contact Information

Cannon 202
(302) 736-2530


Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh
M.S., Chemistry, University of Rochester
B.S., Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University

Professional Activities

My primary research interest is the application of optical spectroscopy (atomic absorption or molecular absorption spectroscopy) to chemical analysis and to the study of molecular interactions. I am specifically interested in (1) the use of adsorption of species onto solid surfaces (such as activated carbon or clays), or the use of micellar or cyclodextrin “cage”-type structures (molecular systems which have the ability to surround other species in solution), to entrap or remove metal ions or organic contaminants from aqueous solution, and (2) photoremediation – the use of ultraviolet light in the presence of certain inorganic materials (such as titanium dioxide) to chemically decompose organic molecular contaminants in aqueous solution. My educational interests include ways to improve the teaching of introductory chemistry courses, such as improvements in course content and topic sequencing, development of in-class or hands-on activities and demonstrations, improvements in laboratory experiments, and the use of writing to teach chemistry.

Co-organizer and presider of a symposium on “Experiences with Nontraditional Freshman-Sophomore Chemistry Sequences” at the 22nd Biennial Conference on Chemical Education at main campus of Penn State University, August 2012.

Papers and Publications:

  • R. J. Kashmar, “Description of an Alternative Freshman-Sophomore Chemistry Sequence and an Analysis of Student Performance,” presented at ChemEd2009 at Radford University, August 2009, at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C., August 2009, and at the annual meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Discovery Chemistry Project at Penn State Berks Campus, June 2010.
  • R. J. Kashmar, “An Alternative Freshman-Sophomore Chemistry Sequence,” presented at the 16th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education at the University of Michigan, August 2000, and at ChemEd 99 at Sacred Heart University, August 1999.
  • R. J. Kashmar, “The Use of Cut-Out Molecular Models on the Overhead Projector to Illustrate Stoichiometry and Limiting Reactants,” Journal of Chemical Education 74,791 (1997); also presented at the 14th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education at Clemson University, August 1996, and at ChemEd 95 at Old Dominion University, August 1995.
  • R. J. Kashmar and D. Boon, "Teaching Analytical Chemistry as a Writing Course," presented at the 14th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education at Clemson University, August 1996, and at ChemEd 95 at Old Dominion University, August 1995.
  • R. J. Kashmar, W. Kroen, and D. Boon, "Analysis of the Results of a Science Orientation Exam,"presented at ChemEd 93 at Butler University in Indianapolis, August 1993.

Courses Taught

CH130 Chemistry for Allied Health
CH150 Chemistry I
CH160 Chemistry II
CH305 Physical Chemistry for Life Sciences
CH310 Analytical Chemistry